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How much Holding Drill and dry-fire practicels is appropriate during training

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Post by mikemyers on Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:31 am

First topic message reminder :

When I used to dry-fire for about half an hour every day, everything seemed fine, although it took a while to notice the benefits.

I've noticed that if I dry-fire for an hour, something in my shoulder/neck/arm starts to feel sore.  In two days maximum, all is back to normal.


Not wanting to develop any shoulder issues, I'm wondering if this is perfectly normal, or does it mean I should shorten my dry-fire practice sessions, maybe doing them more often, but for a shorter period of time.  I guess my question is "how much is too much", or maybe I should word it "is it normal to feel "sore" after doing this?

(Just for reference, Keith Sanderson suggested something like one minute of "holding", followed by two minutes of "rest".  I'm sure the "holding" is what is causing the discomfort, not the firing.  It's not really "pain", just a feeling of being "sore".  Nothing hurts if my move my arm around, or hold the gun out in front of me. )


Last edited by mikemyers on Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:36 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added "holding drills" to title)
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Post by mikemyers on Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:35 pm

I bought a pack of the 50-yard repair centers, so I'm all set to do that - but someplace here I read was better not to do so.  If CR agrees with you, I'll change starting Monday.

(I don't see how it will make that much of a difference, but I'm willing to try.  What do the rest of you guys think?)
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Post by lablover on Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:08 pm

mikemyers wrote:I bought a pack of the 50-yard repair centers, so I'm all set to do that - but someplace here I read was better not to do so.  If CR agrees with you, I'll change starting Monday.

(I don't see how it will make that much of a difference, but I'm willing to try.  What do the rest of you guys think?)
Like I mentioned it worked for me.  I still practice plenty at 25

Just remember, we all don’t wear the same size underwear!  What fits me may not fit you
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Post by DA/SA on Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:33 pm

mikemyers wrote: What do the rest of you guys think?)

There will be a time when it may help, but if you can't keep all shots well in the black at 25, it's probably not the time.
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Post by CR10X on Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:05 pm

Why are you using a target? At the apparent stage of your posted groups, the majority of the time you should probably still be training on blank targets at 25 yards.
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Post by Sa-tevp on Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:27 pm

DA/SA wrote:
mikemyers wrote: What do the rest of you guys think?)

There will be a time when it may help, but if you can't keep all shots well in the black at 25, it's probably not the time.

A longer version of this concept was posted at Bullseye Tip Of The Day: https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t714p25-bullseye-tip-of-the-day#101071
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Post by mikemyers on Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:05 pm

CR10X wrote:Why are you using a target?  At the apparent stage of your posted groups,  the majority of the time you should probably still be training on blank targets at 25 yards.  
CR
I hadn't considered that.  

Based on. your response, I will put up a blank sheet of paper, or a target facing backwards.
I predict the grouping will be the same, but who knows.....    I'll post it Monday afternoon.
I'm dry-firing at a blank wall, so I think I'll be right at home.
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Post by mikemyers on Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:14 pm

'Sa-tevp'
Somehow, I missed that discussion.  Will read it from beginning to end.
The link you posted sounds "obvious" now - need to go back to the beginning to see where it came from.
Thanks again.  

I have no problem with simply shooting blank paper.  It will be just like shooting at my wall, except that previous holes will be visible.
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Post by mikemyers on Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:37 pm

Sa-tevp wrote:A longer version of this concept was posted at Bullseye Tip Of The Day: https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t714p25-bullseye-tip-of-the-day#101071

Hmm, from the top of that link, as per Brian Zins, with the wording corrected:

  • "Until you can shoot all tens at 25 yards in slow fire why are (you) shooting timed and rapid? 
  • Until you can shoot all tens at 25 yards in slow fire why are (you) shooting why are shooting 50 yards in practice?"

That implies until all my shots are in the black (if I ever get there) I should ignore 50 yards and timed/rapid fire.
So, starting Monday, I will always, not sometimes, load one round in a magazine. 
.....and if I can't get off the shot in a reasonable time, put the gun down, and start over.


Basically, what I will do at the range essentially matches what I will do in practice at home, and/or vice versa.

I was frustrated by this discussion yesterday - not any longer.
You guys have far more experience than I, so why not change what I do to match what I'm reading here.
(...and I pay the most attention to CR, Brian, and Dave S., but I try to understand what everyone is saying, and why.)
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Post by willnewton on Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:15 pm

Mike, when looked in the right way, frustration is good. It means you are really trying to reach up to a higher level.

As to your original post and issue-  

When you start to have muscle soreness of the nature you describe, then you are simply not allowing enough time to pass between sessions for your arm to recover in relation to the effort you put in to the training.

45 minutes of “weighted” holding drills may need 2-3 days between sessions.

20-30 minutes of pistol only holding drills may be easier to maintain 5 days a week.

As other have said, anything longer than 20-30 minutes of full attention and your mind will be starting to fatigue as well.

Personally, I walk every morning as well and find the gentle arm swinging is very effective at helping work out arm and shoulder stiffness after a training day.
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Post by mikemyers on Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:08 pm

Hi, and thank you.  I'm not sure if "frustration" is the right word, but sometimes it's close.  The percentage of times I go home from the range with a smile has now exceeded the percentage of times I leave with a frown.  CR would probably tell me I've got 40 plus years of bad habits.  As they get replaced by better habits, and as I work at it more, things improve.  

My new practice routine takes just under 20 minutes, with 20 repetitions.  I plan to do this at least once a day, every day, perhaps up to three times a day, and I plan to live-fire exactly the same way at the range, firing one round.  


I guess it's like many things in my life - if I don't keep doing them, I slide backwards.  Maybe it's "senior memory", but it has happened to me all my life.  If I don't use a gun for maybe a year, I pick it up and need to remember/recall how I use it - especially as in how to disassemble it for cleaning.  Or when I leave on my trips to India, it takes a while to catch up again with where I left off.


You mention how you deal with this - can I ask how often you train at home?  Is it weekly, daily, or ???   How much time do you devote to it?  Do you just "do it", to keep in shape, or do you have a specific plan for something in particular you want to work on?  

Based on your own experience, we've read how people should only shoot slow-fire at 25 yards until their holes are consistently in the black - but matches are slow, timed, and rapid fire, at 25 yards and 50.  When you were still struggling with getting all your holes in the black, did you only shoot slow fire at 25?  If so, didn't that make it difficult when you went to a match and had to do everything?  There's a contradiction here - either one should learn in a particular order, and eventually be able to go to a match and do well - or one can practice at things long before they can shoot properly slow-fire at 25, so they've had experience at all the other parts of a match.  

(For me, I plan to do just what was recommended, most of the time, shooting slow fire at 25 yards, one round at a time.  But my next match is in two weeks, and part of me feels I should practice everything at the range at least a little before the match......  My attitude is all my "work" gets done at home.  When I get to the range, or a match, I just do what I've learned, and ignore the score.  I figure the score will take care of itself, and thinking about it is just wasting time.   Your thoughts on this??  )
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Post by james r chapman on Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:21 pm

I get carpal tunnel when typing that much....
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Post by DA/SA on Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:55 pm

The only preparation I did was to download the sustained fire range commands and use them to develop an internal sense of timing (cadence) for each.

I simply used a Beretta, Sig, or revolver in DA to do so, and dry fired to the commands to develop that cadence to keep the shots evenly spaced throughout the allotted time period. Spending a couple of evenings doing that was about all I needed to get that sorted out.

However, I do constantly remind myself during a match that four nines beats five sevens so I don't end up blasting away if I feel I'm behind the clock...

I recall you posting earlier that you easily use up ten seconds getting a shot off. That's what you need to work on.

Slow fire doesn't necessarily mean to take way longer to get the shot off, it just gives you more time between shots to gather your thoughts up and prepare for the next shot.

My slow fire shots take between one and two seconds to break once the sight enters the black. Much longer than that and increased wobble, chicken finger, and other distractions start to set in. 

That's my take on it.
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Post by mikemyers on Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:22 pm

DA/SA wrote:.....................I recall you posting earlier that you easily use up ten seconds getting a shot off. That's what you need to work on...............
I'll make this short, so Jim doesn't complain.    :-)

From the time you start to raise your hand in slow fire, to the time when you finish one shot and lower your hand, how long might it take you?
(Does it take you more or less than that?)
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Post by DA/SA on Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:23 pm

4-5 seconds

edit: When I raise the gun I am ready to shoot. My grip was formed while resting on the bench so when the gun is raised the dot is centered. I make no further adjustments other than moving my finger to the trigger on the way up, as I had been warned at a match about touching the trigger with the gun rested...


Last edited by DA/SA on Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:31 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post by mikemyers on Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:26 pm

james r chapman wrote:I get carpal tunnel when typing that much....
Jim, you think that is long?  THIS is what I'm used to writing:   https://hinesindustries.com/resources/articles/131-establishing-balance-tolerances-for-armatures

(.....which probably is why people are always telling me I'm over-thinking stuff.....)
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Post by james r chapman on Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:28 pm

You don’t use the fabled bullseye app commands???
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Post by mikemyers on Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:31 pm

DA/SA wrote:4-5 seconds
Wow.......       For me, that's how long it takes just for the wobble to get reasonably stable...

With all the time in the world for slow fire, I feel like asking why you want to do it so quickly, but I won't.  I guess it works for you.  Maybe in a few years I'll be able to do that.
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Post by mikemyers on Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:34 pm

james r chapman wrote:You don’t use the fabled bullseye app commands???
I have them on my iPhone; when the horn goes off, it give me 10 minutes to get off 10 shots.  Why would I want to fire a round in just a few seconds?

I must really be missing something here, or I must be even slower than I already think I am................

I know it's not April First, so please explain...??????
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Post by DA/SA on Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:40 pm

When the horn goes off for Slow Fire, I leisurely pick up the gun and start dry firing until I feel like sending a round down range. Then I may dry fire some more, or I may send another shot down there depending how the first shot went. 

As I said, it gives you more time BETWEEN shots to prepare.

To simplify it...my shot process is the same for Slow, Timed, and Rapid as far as taking the actual shots. (once the gun is raised) I don't have a different process for Slow Fire.


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Post by mikemyers on Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:46 pm

All of that sounds like good ideas, and a good use of the ten minutes, and most of it is what I'm trying to do, but it takes me quite a while before the wobble gets stable, and quite often I give up, lower the gun, rest, and start over.  If I ever get as good as you, maybe I'll be able to do things as you describe.  Maybe with lots of practice and lots of range time.  

Right now I'm not concerned with the time - I'm only concerned with the result.  Once I get consistently good results, maybe it will take me less time.  I'll think about this for a while, but I suspect the last thing I want to do is get faster, until I reach the point where the holes are (mostly) in the black. 

Thanks for giving me yet more things to look forward to.    :-)
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Post by DA/SA on Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:51 pm

Yes, everyone is different.

Personally, I find the longer I take once the dot is in the aiming area, the worse things get!

I wasn't sure if that might be an issue for you or not.

And for the record, I'm 63, so I have a few aches and vision issues I deal with as well...
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Post by Jack H on Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:10 pm

mikemyers wrote:All of that sounds like good ideas, and a good use of the ten minutes, and most of it is what I'm trying to do, but it takes me quite a while before the wobble gets stable, and quite often I give up, lower the gun, rest, and start over.  If I ever get as good as you, maybe I'll be able to do things as you describe.  Maybe with lots of practice and lots of range time.  

Right now I'm not concerned with the time - I'm only concerned with the result.  Once I get consistently good results, maybe it will take me less time.  I'll think about this for a while, but I suspect the last thing I want to do is get faster, until I reach the point where the holes are (mostly) in the black. 

Thanks for giving me yet more things to look forward to.    :-)

The result of your training is your performance.  The result of your performance is at the target.  Don't skip the performance part.
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Post by james r chapman on Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:13 pm

The Drill commands in the Bullseye range commands by Divins....
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Post by dronning on Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:39 pm

mikemyers wrote:Why would I want to fire a round in just a few seconds?

I must really be missing something here, or I must be even slower than I already think I am................

I know it's not April First, so please explain...??????
Most people use the exact same process for slow fire as they do for their first shot of timed and rapid fire.  You just do it 10 times.  Although if I recover perfectly I will take a 2nd and sometimes (rarely) a 3rd shot in slow fire without putting the gun down.

If it's taking you a long time to settle into your wobble I'd take a hard look at your shot process leading up to your sights/dot entering the black.  You should already be putting pressure on the trigger before entering the black.
- Dave
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Post by mikemyers on Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:29 am

I got this video in the mail from Dave Salyer.  It's an old video by Keith Sanderson.  

Is this typical of how quickly you guys see, aim, and fire one shot?
I think it's like any sport - we can "see" the best people do these things, but when it comes to doing it ourselves, no way.  If we could, we'd be standing at Perry competing with Keith and Brian.....  or the experts in any sport.

For me, it's nice to see what I can look forward to, even if I know I'll never get "there".   ......and I can now understand better how some people can shoot well and quickly simultaneously.    ............all of which leaves me thinking that I'm following the path you suggested, and while I will never get "there", I'll be continuing to improve up to the limit of my own ability.

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